Tag: mobile forms

Mobility Part 2: Barriers to Mobile Apps Abound

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Companies plan to build lots of mobile apps in 2017

In a previous article, I discussed how demand for mobile apps is soaring but backlogs are large. This again, from the OutSystems 2017 State of Application Development Report (opt-in required). Credit: this report for images in this article.

Demand is exploding – nearly half of all I.T. professionals (44%) said they plan to build more than 10 apps. Not surprisingly, large organizations plan to build even more apps. At the top of the list are reporting & analytics, process automation and customer portals. Again, this is not surprising given the rising importance of the customer user experience (UX).

Barriers are everywhere

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Time, Budget and Skills are huge barriers

I.T. organizations have discovered that creating effective mobile apps that people will actually use is very difficult.

Time is a major challenge because applications simply take too long to build: more than 3/4ths of respondents say that it takes them > 3 months to build apps and, in many cases, it takes over a year. Real business applications are complex, they need to integrate with a variety of business systems to be really useful and these systems vary in age from modern to decades old.

Budgets are an obvious problem since app development is a very expensive proposition. According to Forrester, 62% of companies report spending more than $500,000 to create just 1-3 apps with several spending over $5 million.

There’s a serious skills gap – 44% of companies cannot find people with the highly sought after skills they need and they’re very expensive to hire.

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The declining popularity of native app development

New Approaches can Yield Results

Put it all together and it’s obvious that new approaches are needed.

Organizations, including many frevvo customers are turning to alternate approaches that yield results. A growing number are migrating to Low/No-code systems because they meet business needs but are faster and cheaper. They can be effectively used by citizen developers and don’t require the same sort of hard-to-find specialized skill sets that native app development requires. Regardless of company size, industry, geography or any other factor, alternative approaches to mobility are increasingly taking hold.

We’ll discuss these approaches in more detail next time (see Part 3).

Mobility Part 1: Mobile App Requirements are Soaring

mobile-apps-2By now everyone knows mobile is eating the world. Billions of smartphones, 75% of US workers being mobile etc. In response, businesses are prioritizing mobile apps. 88% of them say that mobile functionality is either very important or an outright requirement.  OutSystems 2017 State of Application Development Report has this and other fascinating insights. (All images in this article are from the report.)

We particularly like the 2017 business priorities outlined in the Figure below.. Our customers already address the top priorities here using frevvo. They build forms and workflows for automating routine processes that integrate with disparate systems/data sources and work automatically on mobile. Of course, many of these digitized processes modernize and/or replace existing legacy systems.

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We like these 2017 business priorities a lot!

The problem is that creating these kinds of mobile apps is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. I.T. managers report huge backlogs of projects stacking up because they cannot meet the current demand. That’s because there’s a significant skills gap and building native mobile apps is hard and ridiculously expensive.

New low-code approaches like frevvo are yielding results. We’ll write more about it in upcoming articles. In the meantime, check out our website for some examples and this short (4.5m) video on creating beautiful, responsive mobile web forms with frevvo.

Continued in Part 2.

[Infographic] K-12 Process Automation

infographic_wireframe_frevvo_jan2016_3In previous posts, we’ve described how some of our K-12 school customers are using frevvo to automate routine processes and improve efficiency and services to students and staff. EUSD (Escondido Union School District) has been so successful at this – they’ve automated 8 approval workflows including Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement, and Budget Transfers in the first three months – that they were even able to decommission SharePoint/InfoPath thanks to frevvo.

The fact is, schools are drowning in paper. Student work, parent & staff communications, travel reimbursements and many other processes are paper-based and require, emailing, printing and scanning.

Yet, for many schools, going paperless means 1:1 education, e-textbooks and expensive $500 gadgets for each student. It’s a fantastic goal undoubtedly but there’s also plenty of much lower-hanging fruit that’s ripe for automation and saving paper, time and money.

Check out this new infographic on the value/benefits of automating day-to-day K-12 workflows.

Every parent is familiar with consent forms for athletics, directory listing, emergency contact etc. (Miami-Dade County, Los Angeles USD). Typically, these require a parent/guardian to sign the form and they’re sent home on paper or printed out at home.

Internal approval workflows like travel reimbursement, field trip approval etc. (e.g. see New Haven USD, Cabrillo USD) are also commonplace. Typically, these are routed to a supervisor for approval i.e. to sign the form. The paper-based process is simply inefficient.

It’s 2016! There’s simply no excuse for outdated, manual systems that cause delays, result in unhappy students and staff and wasted time and money.

frevvo already has pre-built forms and workflows that can be customized in next to no time and deployed online. They can all be signed online, routed to the proper person electronically, used on mobile devices, delivered in multiple languages, generate PDFs, work with Google Apps for Education and a whole host of advanced capabilities. With affordable, cloud-based workflow products for K-12 process automation, there’s no need to deal with printing PDFs for signatures, correcting Excel-based time sheets, or tracking down approvals in email.

Learn more by visiting our website. Explore some of the examples, read customer success stories and contact us for more details.

La Cité College chooses frevvo for student applications integrated with Salesforce, DocuShare and Oracle.

Deeply rooted in the National Capital Region and Eastern Ontario for over a quarter of a century, La Cité is the largest French-speaking applied arts and technology College in Ontario.

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1200+ registration forms have already been submitted electronically with a 24/7 service offering. Students save time since they no longer have to stand in line for registration. Instead of lining up, they simply complete the process on their smartphones.

La Cité serves a diverse population from students and faculty to a large student body. Students, in particular, prefer to use their mobile phones for almost everything. Yet most of La Cité’s forms and applications were paper or PDF documents that had to be printed out, hand-filled and signed. They didn’t integrate with databases, DocuShare (their document management system) or salesforce.com (CRM).

That means students filling out long forms by hand and standing in long lines to register, internal employees scanning and indexing paper forms and a tedious, inefficient overall experience.

Students love the built-in mobile support. Now that the forms are compatible with devices, 60% of responses have come in on mobile.

La Cité decided that they needed to improve services to students and staff. They selected frevvo Live Forms and, in a matter of months, they’ve replaced several paper/PDF forms with electronic ones. They’re available 24/7, work automatically on mobile devices, and integrate with DocuShare, Oracle and salesforce.com. frevvo forms also work in multiple languages including French, which is the dominant language on La Cité’s campus. Data is pre-populated, frevvo’s build-in validation ensures fewer errors, documents are automatically stored in DocuShare and salesforce and students are no longer standing in line.

Co-Op applications, which used to be paper are now electronic. As a result, the number of applications has gone up from about 10 in previous years to over 70.

The results have been impressive and La Cité plans to roll out several additional forms and workflows in the coming months.

Click here to read the Case Study and contact us if you’d like more information or to sign up for a free 30 day trial.

Form Design Tutorial

Using frevvo’s drag & drop Form Designer to design beautiful, usable forms is definitely intuitive. Still, it’s a powerful and extraordinarily capable product. We’ve recently put together this 26 minute Tutorial video that teaches you how to design even the most complex forms in frevvo in a step-by-step manner. Sign up for a free 30-day trial account and try the Form Designer today.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about digitizing your own approvals with frevvo.

Looking for an InfoPath alternative?

There won’t be a new version of InfoPath and FoSL is dead. Your business needs real forms and approval workflows and you need them today. SharePoint workflows don’t really have sophisticated forms and SharePoint costs quickly get very high. What to do?

Certainly, there are third party products (such as Nintex or K2) that you can buy that work on top of SharePoint workflows and Microsoft even recently announced that InfoPath 2013 will continue to work with SharePoint 2016. But, should you continue to invest in InfoPath when even Microsoft isn’t?

Several customers have turneEscondido Union School District Case Studyd to frevvo precisely to solve this problem. We provide everything you need to digitize your day-to-day approvals – from collecting signatures, feedback and approvals using powerful, customized forms to workflows with routing, notifications, and escalations.

Check out this recent Case Study. Escondido Union School District had a number of PDF and paper forms for absence records, mileage reimbursement etc. that were being filled, printed, and hand-delivered for approvals & signatures. They did an exhaustive evaluation of numerous web-based workflow systems before choosing frevvo.

They’ve automated 8 approval workflows including Absence Records, Mileage Reimbursement, and Budget Transfers in the first three months. The District chose frevvo Live Forms over implementing these in an existing SharePoint install because it provided an easy-to-use solution that fully met business requirements at a fraction of the cost.

In fact, EUSD has decommissioned SharePoint as a result of their success with frevvo!

Read the Case Study here and Sign Up for a 30-day free trial today.

[Infographic] Cloud + Mobile Approvals drive Business Agility

Cloud & Mobile = Business AgilityCompanies moving aggressively to adopt cloud computing are winning competitive advantage by reducing complexity and increasing business agility, according to a recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

What is Business Agility?

It’s hard to define. Wikipedia’s article acknowledges that it has multiple issues. We’ll define it as the ability to react in a timely manner to changing business conditions. That could mean any number of things such as responding to customer complaints on social media or quickly creating new offerings to take advantage of the latest hot trend.

In many cases, this means giving your employees the ability to take the right action at the right time. Whether they’re at work in the office or on the road traveling to a meeting. At their desk or on the train.

That means automating and mobile-enabling everyday processes like purchase approvals, sales orders, trouble tickets and so on. These are routine day-to-day activities that employees spend a significant portion of their day on. They’re unique to your organization and it’s difficult to find pre-packaged applications that meet your exact needs. It’s no surprise that process automation (forms, routing) is the #1 app enterprises plan to build in 2015.

Cloud computing is an essential enabler. AWS and its kin allow any business to support millions of users. Incredibly cheap storage solutions from Dropbox, Microsoft and others let you access your data from anywhere on any device.

And that’s exactly where frevvo comes in. With the drag & drop designer, easily create your own custom forms and automated approval workflows. They’ll just work automatically on any device from smart phones to tablets to desktop computers. Public, private or hybrid cloud options make fast, flexible and affordable deployment possible.

Business agility made easy. Check out this new infographic on how frevvo’s cloud & mobile solutions can help you and sign up now for a free 30-day trial.

Mobile web is the architecture of choice for Enterprise Mobility

Key Business FunctionalityEnterprises continue to build custom apps in 2015 to meet their business needs. Without question, one of those needs is enterprise mobility. 43% of respondents cited mobility (mobile web or apps) as a top business functionality or process critical for apps in 2015 (source: Outsystems/Techvalidate State of Application Development Survey) nearly triple the next highest item.

Customers, partners and employees want to interact with organizations anytime, anywhere and from any device for things like placing orders, approving purchases etc. But the number of devices, platforms and languages has exploded to the point where it’s impossible for even a large enterprise IT organization to keep up. What to do?

When building mobile apps, enterprises can choose between hybrid, mobile web and native architectures. Native has advantagesMobile Architectures like the best overall user experience and the ability to fully leverage device functionality. The problem is the explosion in platforms, screen sizes, devices and the sheer cost of building and supporting custom native apps for so many of them. It’s no wonder that 60+% of IT departments are turning to mobile web or hybrid technology for their business needs. Just 26% of enterprises intend to build native apps.

Makes sense to us. It’s exactly what we’re seeing as our customers automate their everyday approval processes like purchase requisitions, sales orders and expense reports. They’re nearly always custom and nearly always work better if they have access to critical data sitting in existing legacy systems. They always need to work on mobile devices so approvals can happen anytime and anywhere.

And yes! They’re definitely using mobile web-based apps to deploy these automated processes.

Leave Approval Workflows with Google Spreadsheets

Does your organization use Google Apps? If so, you can combine frevvo + Google Apps to create some really cool and useful solutions. For example, consider Leave Approvals. Everyone does it usually on a paper or Excel form sent by email. Wouldn’t it be nice if the form knew how many days of each type (Sick, Annual, Personal etc.) you had left? Usually, that means integrate with some HR system or buy an expensive solution.

frevvo + Google AppsNot so with frevvo + a Google Spreadsheet. Here’s a spreadsheet that contains employee information. Much simpler and easier to maintain for most people than a complicated HR system. And here’s a frevvo workflow that uses that spreadsheet. Try it out – pick an employee from the pick list at the top and frevvo gets the # of available days of each type from the spreadsheet, shows them in the Table and enables only rows where you have available days. The employee can sign electronically and the workflow is automatically routed to the supervisor.

When the leave is approved, frevvo will automatically update the Google Spreadsheet so it’s always kept in sync. Nothing manual to do.

Fast, easy and it’ll save your employees time. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

10 reasons to digitize approvals in 2015

Stop using paperIt’s no secret that paper or Word/Excel-based processes still power day-to-day approvals at most schools and businesses. How the heck are we still discussing this in 2015? As business and society becomes increasingly mobile, digitizing approval workflows is more important than ever before. Beyond the usual save time & money, here are 10 reasons to digitize your approval processes:

  1. Streamline the routine stuff
    It may be a routine day-to-day process but delays can be costly and paper/email are lousy solutions. Passing paper around or chasing emails wastes time and inhibits collaboration – both major no-nos in today’s world.
  2. Simplify Email
    There’s a reason for the hundreds of to-do list apps in the App Store. We’re bombarded with hundreds of emails every day. It’s hard to keep track and easy to forget about getting to things that need doing. When managers forget, employees have to waste time chasing them down to figure out where the approval is.
  3. Get with the Mobile Age
    Smart phones are ubiquitous. Practically everyone has one and we all know how rapidly usage is growing. Ditch the paper/Excel and let busy parents, employees & customers handle approvals on their phones anytime and from anywhere. Make life easier for everyone.
  4. Enough with the printing
    Approvals usually require signatures. You can fill everything else online but chances are the PDF or Excel is physically printed solely for getting the Manager or CFO’s signature. Eliminate it with electronic signatures. There’s no excuse for that in 2015 – we all know there are too few trees. It’s easy to do your part.
  5. Facilitate Self Service
    Automated workflows allow 24×7 access from any device. Today, most people prefer to engage with organizations via the web rather than calling or coming to your office. For everything from school permissions to sales orders, paperless forms make life easier for your customers – another potential game-changing initiative.
  6. Tracking and accountability
    Digital approvals are easy to track with the click of a button or swipe of a finger. Stop making employees search through email or chase down paper forms to figure out where approvals are.
  7. Reduce Errors
    It’s easy to make mistakes like using an older version of a Word document or a calculation error or simply forgetting to fill out parts of the form. Then, someone has to manually get them fixed. Digital versions eliminate these unnecessary and wasteful errors.
  8. Business Intelligence
    Digital processes can be integrated with your other business systems and services. It can really improve efficiency by, for example, eliminating duplicate data entry. More important, integration can extract essential information and dramatically improve business intelligence and give you insights on how better to operate – a potential game-changer.
  9. Resilience
    The Cloud now provides unlimited, affordable storage and access from anywhere with redundancy and disaster recovery that cannot be matched by most organizations. Use it and you can stop worrying about fires and floods and the like and operate a resilient organization that focuses on customers.
  10. Go Green
    ‘Nuff said!

It’s 2015 – why are you still printing and scanning and emailing? Contact frevvo today and learn how you can start implementing these game-changers today.